21632 Newland Street

Huntington Beach, CA 92646 US

714-536-8480

Open mobile navigation

Anemia in Dogs

Tired dog laying on couch

Do You Know If Your Dog Is Showing Symptoms of Anemia?

Is your normally energetic dog suddenly listless, weak, and uninterested in food? Anemia may be to blame for these troubling symptoms.

What is Anemia?

Anemia occurs due to a decrease in the number of red blood cells in your dog's blood. The cells are produced in the bone marrow, along with platelets and white blood cells.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, an iron-rich protein that delivers oxygen from the lungs to the entire body and returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs for removal. Your pet's cells and tissues won't receive enough oxygen if its red blood cell or hemoglobin level is too low.

What Are The Symptoms of Anemia?

These symptoms can occur if your dog has anemia:

  • Pale Gums, Ears, or Eyes
  • Jaundice (Yellow Eyes and Mucous Membranes)
  • Lack of Energy and Stamina
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Vomiting
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Fast Heart Rate or Pulse
  • Bloody Vomit, Stool, or Urine

What Causes Anemia?

Anemia can occur due to insufficient production of red blood cells, bleeding, deficiencies that lead to the premature destruction of the cells, blood cell damage, or a decrease in the nutrients needed to produce red blood cells. Common causes of anemia include:

  • Blood Loss. An injury isn't the only cause of blood loss. Internal bleeding may sometimes occur after surgery or might happen if your pet has parasites, ulcers, or stomach tumors. A blood-clotting disorder could also be the source of the anemia. As a result of the condition or injury, your pet experiences a loss of red blood cells.
  • Kidney Disease. Anemia may be a result of kidney disease or failure in some cases. Your pet's kidneys produce a hormone that triggers the production of new red blood cells. If your dog has kidney disease, a decrease in the production of the hormone may lead to anemia.
  • Inherited Enzyme Deficiencies. Your pet's red blood cells may have a shorter lifespan than normal due to one of several inherited enzyme deficiencies. English Springer Spaniels, West Highland Terriers, Beagles, Cairn Terriers, and Basenjis are more likely to develop the deficiency, according to the Merck Manual.
  • Toxins. Exposure to chemicals or toxic drugs or plants can destroy red blood cells. Over-the-counter medications that are safe for humans, such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen, may cause anemia in pets. Prescription medications, onions, garlic, and pesticides can also affect your dog's red blood cell count.
  • Nutritional Deficiencies. Your dog may develop anemia if its diet doesn't contain enough iron, vitamin E, copper, riboflavin, vitamins B12 and B6, or niacin.
  • Infections and Diseases: Dogs that have cancer, autoimmune diseases, hypothyroidism, Cushing's disease, bacterial infections, and other diseases, infections, or conditions may be at increased risk of becoming anemic.

How Do Veterinarians Diagnose and Treat Anemia?

If your pet's vet suspects that your dog has anemia, he or she may order a variety of tests that can confirm the diagnosis and identify the underlying cause. In addition to blood tests, other tests that can be helpful include urine tests, ultrasound scans, X-rays, bone marrow biopsies, and fecal tests to determine if your pet has parasites.

Treatment of anemia depends on the cause. Successfully treating fleas, hookworm, and other parasitic infections can cause your pet's red blood cell to increase, while drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful if your dog has an immune system condition. In some cases, iron supplements may offer relief of anemia symptoms. If your dog has severe anemia, blood transfusions may be needed.

Prompt veterinary treatment can help your dog recover from anemia. If your pet has been displaying any of the symptoms mentioned above, contact our office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Sources:

American Kennel Club: Anemia in Dogs, 8/21/17

Merck Manual: Anemia in Dogs, 12/17

Dogtime: Anemia in Dogs: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

No embed code settings found. Please configure it

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) -------------

Tuesday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Wednesday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Thursday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Friday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Saturday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Sunday:

(Open to the Public) 9:00am- 5:00pm

(Adoptions) till 4:00pm

(Surgery Pick Ups) 3:00pm- 5:00pm

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "Thank you to the OC Humane Society team for introducing us to Maxwell (now Bruno) he has been an amazing addition to our little family. He knows all of his basic commands and even knows heel! A surprise to us since he was found as a stray."
    Sandy T. / Huntington Beach, CA

Featured Articles

Read about interesting topics

  • The Most Common Vaccinations for Your Cat and Dog

    Do you know what vaccines your cat or dog needs? ...

    Read More
  • Preparing for Your Kitten’s Developmental Milestones

    Need to hone in on your kitten knowledge? Check out the milestones your new pet will reach during its first year. ...

    Read More
  • What Is Ataxia in Dogs?

    Could balance or gait issues mean your dog has ataxia? ...

    Read More
  • Fish

    If you’re thinking of getting a pet fish, you should know that your veterinarian has a lot of good advice about pet ownership. Fish can be very rewarding as pets, and you just may be surprised about how much fish actually interact with their owners. Here’s more valuable information about choosing ...

    Read More
  • Caring for Senior Cats

    Thanks to advancements in veterinary care, today’s cats can live well into their teen years. It is not uncommon for cats to live to be 18 or even older. However, in order for cats to live a long full life, they need proactive veterinary care to stay healthy. As cats age, they are at greater risk for ...

    Read More
  • Feline Stomatitis: Treatments

    Cats rarely display their pain, but cats with feline stomatitis are often the exception. If your cat appears to have mouth pain, is reluctant to eat, doesn't want to groom, is drooling, and doesn't want you to open its mouth, it may be suffering from this debilitating, degenerative oral condition, and ...

    Read More
  • Feline Leukemia Virus: What You Need to Know

    Feline leukemia (FeLV) is a virus that weakens your cat's immune system. Unfortunately, when the immune system does not function properly, your cat may be more likely to develop other diseases, such as cancer and blood disorders. How Cats Contract Feline Leukemia Cats get feline leukemia from other cats. ...

    Read More
  • Family Cats and Pregnant Women: Take Measures to Prevent Toxoplasmosis Infection

    Nothing must spoil the joys of becoming a new parent. Not even your pets. But family cats with normal, every day habits can pose a risk to expectant women. Women's immune systems can be disturbed by a parasite carried in fecal matter. If you're the primary caretaker of your family's feline friend it ...

    Read More
  • Create an Environment Your Cat Will Love

    The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery confirms that feline emotional wellbeing, behavior and physical health are a result of how comfortable they are in their environment. Understanding how our cats interact with their environment can help us create a space for owners and cats to mutually thrive ...

    Read More
  • Catnip: Why Cats Love It

    Few things stimulate a cat's pleasure faster than catnip. Exposure to this simple herb can reveal a new side to their feline personality. Many cats will go crazy at the smell of this plant. Catnip has a reputation of being a feline drug and many cat owners wonder if it is safe to give it to their pet. ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup